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Access_open A Positive State Obligation to Counter Dehumanisation under International Human Rights Law

Tijdschrift Erasmus Law Review, Aflevering 3 2020
Trefwoorden Dehumanisation, International Human Rights Law, Positive State obligations, Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination
Auteurs Stephanie Eleanor Berry
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    International human rights law (IHRL) was established in the aftermath of the Second World War to prevent a reoccurrence of the atrocities committed in the name of fascism. Central to this aim was the recognition that out-groups are particularly vulnerable to rights violations committed by the in-group. Yet, it is increasingly apparent that out-groups are still subject to a wide range of rights violations, including those associated with mass atrocities. These rights violations are facilitated by the dehumanisation of the out-group by the in-group. Consequently, this article argues that the creation of IHRL treaties and corresponding monitoring mechanisms should be viewed as the first step towards protecting out-groups from human rights violations. By adopting the lens of dehumanisation, this article demonstrates that if IHRL is to achieve its purpose, IHRL monitoring mechanisms must recognise the connection between dehumanisation and rights violations and develop a positive State obligation to counter dehumanisation. The four treaties explored in this article, the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, all establish positive State obligations to prevent hate speech and to foster tolerant societies. These obligations should, in theory, allow IHRL monitoring mechanisms to address dehumanisation. However, their interpretation of the positive State obligation to foster tolerant societies does not go far enough to counter unconscious dehumanisation and requires more detailed elaboration.


Stephanie Eleanor Berry
Stephanie Eleanor Berry is Senior Lecturer in International Human Rights Law, University of Sussex.
Artikel

Hoe Europa zijn zigeuners uitvond

Over een schaduwzijde van de moderniteit

Tijdschrift Justitiële verkenningen, Aflevering 5 2014
Trefwoorden European culture, history of gypsies, modernity, images of gypsies, European literature
Auteurs Prof. dr. K.M. Bogdal
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Europe is commonly depicted as the cradle of modernity. But this image usually has a blind eye for marginal communities and cultures existing seemingly apart of the big developments. An example of this is the neglect of the Roma people who settled here early, on the threshold of the Middle Ages and the modern era. The attitude of the European people towards this mobile ethnic group can be described as moving between contempt and fascination. Referring to images of gypsies in literature and other cultural expressions the author shows how during the Romantic era the gypsies were serving as a projection object for desires and fantasies about socially deviant lifestyles. The subsequent process of ‘de-Europeanization’ together with the creation of exotic images through ethnology is described as well as the racial theories and their political consequences for the Roma people in the twentieth century. Instead of contributing to the creation of borderlines and fuelling destruction fantasies, art and sciences should give more attention to the undividedness of humankind and to human dignity.


Prof. dr. K.M. Bogdal
Prof. dr. Klaus-Michael Bogdal is als hoogleraar verbonden aan de afdeling Germanistische literatuurwetenschap van de Universiteit Bielefeld. Zijn boek Europa erfindet die Zigeuner. Eine Geschichte von Faszination und Verachtung (Bogdal 2011) werd in 2013 bekroond met de Leipziger Buchpreis für Europäische Verständigung.
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